MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - In Memphis, if at first you don’t succeed, then tax, tax again. The campaign to have you folks vote to increase the Shelby County sales tax was a stinker - a landslide defeat of the plan. Voters say one reason they shot it down was they had no idea where the money would be going.
“I mean the whole thing,” says Elizabeth Barton, “...I don’t think we were all educated enough to know.”
Whatever the reason was, “It was a resounding no,” says Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn.
Excuse Shea for not sitting down these days. He was a big supporter of the sales tax increase, and voters gave him quite a spanking last week. He’s about to suck it up, however, and ask Memphis city voters to give it another chance. “We’re on a six month freeze by state law,” he says. “During that time period we can propose a group of cuts and spending initiatives to justify the expense of a special election.”
It takes a lot of taxpayer cheese to pay for a special election. It’ll cost about one million bucks, give or take a few hundred thousand. Shea Flinn knows that is a major slice of your dough for an election.
“It is,” he says, “and if it’s going to go for another drubbing, we could use that money elsewhere. But, getting into the poker playing of it, if it costs you a million dollars to get forty seven million dollars, those are fairly good odds.”
Good odds for the city - maybe. But taxpayers we spoke with, such as Benson Githinji, say it’s a bad deal for them. “I just don’t think this is the right time to raise taxes.”